Middle East Studies

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Arms Control in the Middle East

Cooperative Security Dialogue and Regional Constraints

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This book focuses on the Middle East arms control process as it unfolded during the years 1992–1995, as part of the multilateral track of the Arab–Israeli peace process initiated in Madrid, October 1991. This was the story of a regional process in the making: from the very concept of arms control as applied to the region, through the innovative regional forum and format for discussion that was devised for the talks, to the dynamics of the talks and the question of Egypt’s position within this novel regional setting. The result was that what seemed at the outset to be a most likely unpromising forum became the setting of unprecedented regional dynamics.

The in-depth examination of ACRS – Arms Control Regional Security working group – engenders important insights into a number of concepts that lie at the heart of international relations studies: the notion of the strategic game, the meaning of power, the definition of security threats, the notions of hegemony and leadership, state identity, the conduct of regional politics, and the significance of cooperative processes in international relations.

Published in association with the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-028-6
Hardback Price: £55.00 / $85.00
Release Date: July 2006
Page Extent / Format: 292 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No


Preface and Acknowledgments


1 Approaching Cooperative Security Dialogue
The Structure and Dynamics of Cooperation
Constructivism and Security Dialogue
Strategic Interaction and the Seminar Framework
(Re)defining Regional Security

2 Arms Control as a Process
When Theory Meets ACRS
Track II Diplomacy
Refining the Arms Control Game
The Case Study

3 The Middle East Arms Control Dialogue
Seminar Diplomacy: A Review of the Talks
Initial Conceptions of Security
Framing the Security Debate

4 The Process of Arguing: Effects of the Seminar Framework
Dynamics of Convergence and Divergence
CSBMs: The Common Language of Arms Control
An Altered Security Conception?
Limited Constitutive Effect of Seminar Diplomacy on Egypt

5 Arab Nationalism and Egypt’s Leadership Identity
Arabism: Ideology, Interest, or Norm?
Egypt: Hegemony and Pan-Arabism Sadat’s Move for Peace
The 1990s: Arabism and Egypt’s Continued Leadership Interest

6 Egypt’s Role in the Arms Control Dialogue
Egypt's Agenda
Framing the Arab Security Interest
Securitization of the Nuclear Issue
The Challenge to Egypt’s Leadership Role

7 Bilateral Dynamics within the Multilateral Framework
Egypt's Ambivalent Approach
The Cultural Dimension: Recognition and Respect
Regional Rivals, Strategic Dialogue Partners
Implications for the Nature of the Game



This book is an analysis of unofficial, or Track II, diplomacy on arms control in the Middle East during the 1990s. The study pays particular attention to Egypt, which has long called for a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East. Track II arms control diplomacy from 1992 to1995 came to be known as the Arms Control and Regional Security working group or ACRS. Unfortunately, as Landau notes, the series of unofficial talks eventually broke down. Egypt insisted that Israel discuss its non-declared nuclear weapons capabilities while Israeli delegations argued that conventional forces and regional peace treaties had to be discussed before the nuclear issue could be tackled. Landau discusses Egypt’s frustrations over its inability to get other Arab states to follow Cairo’s diplomatic lead, and for Egypt to achieve the security leadership role to which it aspires in the region. This study is an important intellectual benchmark for arms control in the Middle East, a region which looks primed for even greater arms control challenges in the future. Recommended.

This exceptionally thorough and perceptive examination of the role of ideas and seminar diplomacy in multilateral arms control negotiations is a major contribution to international relations theory and to our understanding of Middle Eastern regional security. It shows persuasively that the 1990s Middle East arms control multilateral negotiations, which have frequently been dismissed as mere ‘talk-shops’, played a crucial role in building the conceptual and practical foundations of an institutionalized practice of arms control in the region. Emily Landau demonstrates that if there is the will one day to break the Middle East logjam, there is a way.
Prof. Emanuel Adler, Andrea and Charles Bronfman Chair in Israel Studies, University of Toronto

Emily Landau’s Arms Control in the Middle East is a significant contribution to understanding one of the most important issues in Middle Eastern strategic inter-state relationships, as any major progress in the politics of Israeli–Arab relations depends heavily on management of regional security issues. Landau analyzes in depth the ACRS negotiations, the first formal multilateral attempt to regulate regional security, and assesses its limited successes and ultimate failure. Her presentation combines theoretical insights with penetrating assessments of the participant states. In addition to its scholarly contribution to the fields of security studies and arms control, Landau’s book provides useful insights for future regional security arrangements.
Yair Evron, Professor Emeritus, Political Science Department, Tel Aviv University

This significant book on Middle East arms control presents a particular and innovative concept of arms control that was initiated in 1991 at Madrid and applied to the region. The main lesson of this interesting attempt is that arms control should be achieved by the concerned parties through regional dialogue and by addressing the security concerns of the participating states. Emily Landau’s book provides valuable conceptual and empirical ideas for decision-makers and scholars who aspire for a better Middle East.
Prof. Yaacov Bar-Siman-Tov, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem

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